Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) says Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration is not a political issue nor should it spark a debate among subscribers but rather be considered as a statutory requirement for security purposes.
ZICTA Public Relations Manager Ngabo Nankonde said there were misconceptions such as the alleged political strategy for Patriotic Front government on the current on-going SIM card registration.
Mrs Nankonde was speaking in a follow up SIM registration press briefing with journalists from various media houses in Kabwe yesterday.
She said journalists were a tool of communication that can help clear peoples’ doubts across the country to ensure that the exercise is understood and done by every mobile subscriber.
She said ZICTA draws its mandate from the Information Communications Technologies (ICT) Act No. 15 of 2009 and the Statutory Instrument on the Registration of Electronic Communications Apparatus No. 65 of 2011 to ensure that all the mobile phone service providers register the SIM cards of all their subscribers.
She said SIM card registration in Zambia is now a law that will enable law enforcement agencies create a database to help identify the mobile SIM card owners.
Mrs Nankonde further said the registration was essential in tracking criminals who use cell phones for illegal activities and also to curb other negative incidences such as loss of phone through theft, nuisance text messages, fraud, threats and inciting violence, among others.
She added that the registration is also meant to help the service providers know their customers better.
She said failure to register a SIM card is a breach of the law and jeopardises government efforts of stamping out incidences of crime perpetuated through mobile phone handsets and by extension, putting oneself at risk.
She explained that the personal information collected such as National Registration Card (NRC), valid passport, valid driver’s License or Voter’s card would be kept confidential by the respective mobile phone operators in a secure data base.
ZICTA is carrying out sensitization awareness on the on-going countrywide SIM card registration exercise through the media.